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Law Library adds Database of Oxford University Press Ebooks

Last week the Library added access to a growing database of law-related ebooks, part of a larger, and more general collection of ebooks, called Oxford Scholarship Online.  The Wells Library already subscribes to modules of Oxford Scholarship Online covering a variety of subjects from classical studies to religious studies, totaling around 2700 recent books.  Our subscription to the law module adds another 100 significant Oxford University Press titles, and the whole, combined database is now accessible throughout the Bloomington campus.

The search interface allows the user to browse each subject by sub-category.  For example, the user could select “Law,” then select from 18 sub-categories, such as “EU Law,” “Legal History,” “Family Law,” etc.  In addition, there is an advanced search utility that supports searches by title, abstract, and full text words, as well as by keyword.  Unfortunately, keywords do not appear to be assigned from a controlled thesaurus of terms, so this search is of limited usefulness.

Two particularly useful features of Oxford Scholarship Online are the abstracts and tables of contents.  The former provide the user with a quick indication of whether a selected ebook will be useful.  The latter, which open in a box on the left side of the screen, permit the user to navigate easily through any ebook selected.  In addition, a scan of the table of contents provides additional information about whether the ebook will be useful.  Other features, such as the cross-reference function, which links ebooks to one another, are also worth experimenting with.

Presently there are no records in IUCAT for the books contained in the various modules of Oxford Scholarship Online.  As a result, the user must remember to check the database for possible relevant titles, after doing a search of IUCAT.  Eventually, records for each book currently in the law module will be added to IUCAT, and records will continue to be added as new books are included in the database.  Then users will be able to rely on IUCAT to be a comprehensive database of all titles held by the Law Library, whether in print or in purely electronic format.


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